nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2019‒02‒18
eight papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. On Regional Borrowing, Default, and Migration By Gordon, Grey; Guerron-Quintana, Pablo
  2. Migration and co-residence choices: Evidence from Mexico By Simone Bertoli; Elie Murard
  3. Unequal Migration and Urbanisation Gains in China By Pierre-Philippe Combes; Sylvie Démurger; Shi Li; Jianguo Wang
  4. From Immigrants to Americans: Race and Assimilation during the Great Migration By Vasiliki Fouka; Soumyajit Mazumder; Marco Tabellini
  6. The Economic Benefits of Latino Immigration: How the Migrant Hispanic Population’s Demographic Characteristics Contribute to US Growth By Jacob Funk Kirkegaard; Gonzalo Huertas
  7. Utilitarian and Ideological Determinants of Attitudes toward Immigration: Germany before and after the “Refugee Crisis” By Heinz Welsch
  8. Migration Constraints and Disparate Responses to Changing Job Opportunities By Burns, Kalee; Hotchkiss, Julie L.

  1. By: Gordon, Grey (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond); Guerron-Quintana, Pablo (Boston College)
    Abstract: Migration plays a key role in city finances with every new entrant reducing debt per person and every exit increasing it. We study the interactions between regional borrowing, migration, and default from empirical, theoretical, and quantitative perspectives. Empirically, we document that in-migration rates are positively correlated with deficits, that many cities appear to be at or near state-imposed borrowing limits, and that defaults can occur after booms or busts in productivity and population. Theoretically, we show that migration creates an externality that results in over-borrowing, and our quantitative model is able to rationalize many features of the data because of it. Counterfactuals reveal (1) Detroit should have deleveraged in the financial crisis to avoid default; (2) a return to the high-interest rate environment prevailing in the 1990s has only small long-run effects on city finances; and (3) anticipated bailouts double default rates.
    Keywords: migration; cities
    JEL: E21 F22 F34 R23 R51
    Date: 2019–02–12
  2. By: Simone Bertoli (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - Clermont Auvergne - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Elie Murard (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor)
    Abstract: The migration literature typically assumes that the migration of a household member is not associated with further variations in co-residence choices. We rely on a Mexican panel survey to provide novel evidence on the correlation between the occurrence of an international migration episode and changes in household composition. Migrant households have a higher probability of receiving a new member within one year around the migration episode. Attrition is significantly higher among migrant households, and we provide evidence that this is partly due to the dissolution of the household of origin of the migrant. The endogeneity of co-residence choices induces an undercount of migration episodes, as shown with data from the 2000 Census. This has implications for the analysis of migrant selection and of the effects on the individuals left behind. Dealing with these analytical challenges requires an approach to data collection that is less dependent on variations in household composition.
    Keywords: International migration,household composition,data collection,remittances
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Pierre-Philippe Combes (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France; Sciences Po, Department of Economics, 28, Rue des Saints-Pères, 75007 Paris, France. Research fellow at CEPR); Sylvie Démurger (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France. Research fellow at IZA); Shi Li (Business School, Beijing Normal University, China. Research fellow at IZA); Jianguo Wang (Beijing Information Science and Technology University, China)
    Abstract: We assess the role of internal migration and urbanisation in China on the nominal earnings of three groups of workers (rural migrants, low-skilled natives, and high-skilled natives). We estimate the impact of many city and city-industry characteristics that shape agglomeration economies, as well as migrant and human capital externalities and substitution effects. We also account for spatial sorting and reverse causality. Location matters for individual earnings, but urban gains are unequally distributed. High-skilled natives enjoy large gains from agglomeration and migrants at the city level. Both conclusions also hold, to a lesser extent, for low-skilled natives, who are only marginally negatively affected by migrants within their industry. By contrast, rural migrants slightly lose from migrants within their industry while otherwise gaining from migration and agglomeration, although less than natives. The different returns from migration and urbanisation are responsible for a large share of wage disparities in China.
    Keywords: urban development, agglomeration economies, wage disparities, migrants, human capital externalities, China
    JEL: O18 R12 R23 J31 O53
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Vasiliki Fouka (Stanford University); Soumyajit Mazumder (Harvard University); Marco Tabellini (Harvard Business School)
    Abstract: How does the appearance of a new out-group affect the economic, social and cultural integration of previous outsiders? We study this question in the context of the first Great Migration (1915-1930), when 1.5 million African Americans moved from the US South to urban centers in the North, where 30 million Europeans had arrived since 1850. We test the hypothesis that black inflows led to the establishment of a binary black-white racial classification, and facilitated the incorporation of - previously racially ambiguous - European immigrants into the white majority. We exploit variation induced by the interaction between 1900 settlements of southern-born blacks in northern cities and state-level outmigration from the US South after 1910. Black arrivals increased both the effort exerted by immigrants to assimilate and their eventual Americanization. These average effects mask substantial heterogeneity: while initially less integrated groups (i.e. Southern and Eastern Europeans) exerted more assimilation effort, assimilation success was larger for those that were culturally closer to native whites (i.e. Western and Northern Europeans). These patterns are consistent with a framework in which changing perceptions of out-group distance among native whites lower the barriers to the assimilation of white immigrants.
    Keywords: Immigration, assimilation, Great Migration, race, group identity.
    JEL: J11 J15 N32
    Date: 2019–02–04
  5. By: Akan Kadyrbekov (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Dmitry Veselov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The paper explores the e ect of migration of Russian settlers on the intra-regional development in Kazakhstan. We use the 1897 census dataset of the Russian Empire and modern economic data to provide links between Russian settlements in Kazakhstan in 1897 and the current level of economic development. Exploiting exogenous geographic and geopolitical sources of variation across twenty-six districts (uyezd) we provide the empirical evidence of positive impact of the migration of Russians in XVIII-XIX centuries on the current level of development. The paper discusses several channels of such in uence: human capital formation channel and the Soviet Union industrialization policy.
    Keywords: Intra-regional development · migration ows · historical development
    JEL: N13 N33 O1 O15
    Date: 2019
  6. By: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard (Peterson Institute for International Economics); Gonzalo Huertas (Peterson Institute for International Economics)
    Abstract: The Hispanic community in the United States has contributed significantly to US economic growth in recent decades and will continue to do so over the next 10 to 20 years, adding more to US growth than some past immigrant communities at similar stages of integration and time following their arrival on American shores. This contribution derives partially from demographic vitality: the fact that Hispanics are the youngest and largest minority group in America and are on a path toward becoming an increasingly large share of the US labor force. Higher fertility rates, net immigration, and growing labor force participation rates will reinforce this trend. This paper presents evidence showing that Hispanic educational attainments are now rapidly converging to the US average. The Hispanic community now exhibits significantly higher levels of opportunity-driven entrepreneurship than does the rest of the US population. These factors position the Hispanic community to increase its contribution to the US economy in coming decades, with significant positive effects on the overall economic growth rate. The data underlying this analysis are available at
    Keywords: geographic labor mobility, immigrant workers, demographic trends, macroeconomic effects, forecasts, international migration
    JEL: J61 J11 F22
    Date: 2019–02
  7. By: Heinz Welsch (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Previous studies on the determinants of attitudes toward immigration can be classified into those that take a utilitarian perspective, focusing on individuals’ perceptions of real-world impacts of immigration, and those that look at immigration attitudes from the point of view of ideological orientation, focusing on broad political norms and values. While utilitarian and ideological determinants have largely been studied separately, the present paper sets out to disentangle their role, placing an emphasis on possible interconnections between them. Specifically, the paper studies whether and to what extent individuals’ perception of the impacts of immigration is related to their ideological orientation, implying an indirect channel through which ideology may shape attitudes toward immigration policies. Focusing on Germany before and after the so-called refugee crisis of 2015, it is found that while perceptions of economic and cultural impacts are more important than ideological position, perceptions of impacts increasingly depend on ideology. Ideology-dependence of perceptions is stronger with respect to cultural than with respect to economic impacts. While the importance of perceived economic impacts has decreased, cultural impacts have become the dominant concern after the crisis. Ideological position is more important with respect to immigrants of a different race or ethnic group than the majority and immigrants from poorer countries outside Europe than with respect to immigrants of the same race or ethnic group. The relationship between ideology and immigration attitudes rests mainly on the identity/homogeneity domain of ideological position rather than the equity/solidarity domain.
    Keywords: immigration, attidude, utilitarianism, left right scale, equity, identity
    Date: 2019–02
  8. By: Burns, Kalee (Georgia State University); Hotchkiss, Julie L. (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)
    Abstract: Using the Current Population Survey between 1996 and 2018, this paper investigates the role constraints to migration might play in explaining racial/ethnic disparities in the labor market. The Delta Index of dissimilarity is used to illustrate a greater distributional mismatch between race/education specific workers and jobs among minorities relative to white non-Hispanics. Regression analysis then shows that this mismatch is consistent with minorities being less responsive to changes in the distribution of job opportunities. However, minorities are more responsive when the growing job opportunities are located in areas with greater same-racial/ethnic representation, suggesting that social constraints might play a role in the observed distributional mismatch. The analysis focuses on 25–54 year old men.
    Keywords: racial labor market disparities; migration costs; Delta Index; social costs; place-based; people-based; mismatch
    JEL: J15 J18 J61
    Date: 2019–02–11

This nep-mig issue is ©2019 by Yuji Tamura. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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